Originally Posted by Outshined_One
I've repeated this time and again whenever people try to do limited analyses of drafted players in terms of success rates based on a certain classification (pitchers, position players, college, HS, etc).
They do not work.
There are numerous factors which make things so incredibly muddled in terms of determining whether a team made the right decision in drafting a player. I've seen a number of studies done on overall success rates in the draft and whatnot, but you absolutely cannot make universal judgments on players based on something like whether that player was drafted in the Top 10 or if that guy was drafted as a shortstop.
Here are a few factors worth noting...
-Signability. In 2006, the consensus best player in the draft (Andrew Miller) fell to #6 due to signability concerns, since the top teams were worried about his contract demands. In 2004, Jered Weaver and Stephen Drew suffered the same fate. Because of contract demands, college commitments, and a variety of other factors, guys who would otherwise be taken in the Top 10, first round, first five rounds, or whatever, based on talent instead fall well out of those spots.
It's not necessarily that the Cubs have been able to unearth guys like Sean Gallagher, Jeff Samardzija, and Chris Huseby because they were diamonds in the rough. Instead, the Cubs had enough scouting and money to pry those guys away from their commitments.
-Injuries. Yes, they are an unfortunate fact of life when it comes to sports, but I maintain that the majority of injuries which occur are not foreseeable. Sometimes, bad things happen to guys which no one could see coming and it could at the least set back their development and at worst end their careers. How fair is it to judge a team based on drafting a certain player in hindsight when, at the time, he had a clean bill of health with no red flags?
Cripes, just imagine what the Mets' rotation would look like if Isringhausen, Wilson, and Pulsipher didn't all have arm injuries. I'll refrain from addressing the Cubs' history in this area, but you get the idea.
-Arbitrariness/Sample Size. This is part nitpick, part major point. The nitpick is, why limit yourself to the Top 10? What makes 10 so special? How much would it affect the numbers, success rates, and correlations if you increased the sample size to something like Top 15, Top 20, and so on? Based on the signability issues I mentioned above, wouldn't it make some sense to expand the pool to include these potential top picks who fell because of money concerns?
Secondly, this is an incredibly difficult thing to accurately measure in terms of sample size. I've seen people pull out the last 15 #6 overall picks in the NFL draft based on the Bears' tradeup rumors and people have been making predictions based on the success numbers at that pick. The problem is, the pick itself does not dictate how good or bad a player will be; it's the scouting department, talent available, and to a certain extent the luck that will determine that matter.
To me, that's the bottom line in all of this. I don't particularly care who the Cubs draft, where the guy played ball, how old he is, and so on. What I really care about is whether the Cubs did their homework on the guy and know that he's got the chops to make an impact on the big league club some day.
Poor scouting and bad luck lead to more busted draft picks than anything else, you know?